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Erich was not perfect. It pained him to admit it within the privacy of his own head, and he’d never admit it aloud. Which made… apologizing a difficult prospect.

“Quit sulking.”

So he didn’t even bother.

The girl – Natasha, he reiterated within his own head – turned to glare at him.

“You experimented on me.”

He shrugged as they strode down the street towards his shop, two MK1 spartoi drones to the front, as well as a good dozen helots forming a ring around them.

“I was attempting to return your fingers to you,” he said as pedestrians cleared a path before him. Those who weren’t quite quick enough about it getting jabbed by a drone for their trouble.

“You chopped them off again!” The girl shouted, bringing up a still malformed hand, the flesh pink and raw from where the cybernetics had been removed.

“You said they weren’t as nimble,” he said reasonably. “So I removed them in preparation for the installation of an improved model.”

Admittedly, he supposed he could have been a tad more delicate about it.

“You used a cleaver!” The girl whirled on him, any fear she might have once had momentarily forgotten after the events of the last few hours. “Now I’ve got less hand than I had when I started.”

Well he could hardly be faulted for that. He needed fresh nerves, rather than the ones he had already damaged in the first round of cybernetics. He had already explained that, but he doubted the girl wanted to hear it for a third time.

“I used anaesthetic this time,” he pointed out. Admittedly that had been more to do with his desire to avoid the same squirming that had occurred during the cybernetics initial installation.

“Most people would have used anaesthetic the first time!”

Given the fact that he was fully helmeted, Erich was forced to incline his head – in as sceptical manner as was capable – in the direction of an alley, where a lady of the evening was loudly performing fellatio on a drugged out Saint.

“Ok, maybe not here,” the girl admitted. “But in the rest of the world they would.”

Not for the first time, Erich cursed his decision to install a television with the Habitation Block. It had seemed an ideal way to quieten down the rambunctious employees within, allowing him to work on his secret project in peace. It hadn’t worked, as now he had to listen to them all argue about which channel to watch.

More importantly it was giving them all strange ideas like paid vacation and safe working environments.

“I got it healed didn’t I?” He said, reffering to their latest trip to Portland’s resident meta-healer. “At the cost of two Helots, I might add.”

Natasha was unconvinced.

“You don’t even like the Helots, you practically give them away. You also specifically told her not to heal me all the way.”

Why oh why did he get the mouthiest urchin of the bunch?

“I told you. I need the wound to be fresh. If she healed you all the way then the scar tissue might get in the way of the nerve connections.”

“Why not just have her grow my fingers back?”

Peh, and get nothing out of this little exercise? Not a chance.

“She can’t regrow stuff, she just accelerates the body’s natural healing, and perhaps gives it a little boost.”

The girl looked like she wanted to argue, but his words took the wind out of her sales. They walked in silence for a few more minutes before she spoke again.

“Look, just… can you promise you aren’t going to get rid of me?”

Erich cocked his head – a habit he’d been forced to pick up in lieue of raising any eyebrow given his now almost constantly helmet clad status.

“You know, once you figure out how to make your robot fingers, or whatever?”

Gone was the mouthy little spitfire from before, in her place was just a girl; one who was in pain, afraid, and terrified of losing the only place she could tentatively have called a home in a very long time.

Of course, Erich being Erich, that all flew straight over his head.

So when he answered, it was with his customary totally frank honesty.

“Get rid of you? Why the hell would I do that?”

The whole reason he’d starting experimenting with cybernetics had been to ensure he could maintain his workforce. Natasha might have been the first big accident, but he seriously doubted she would be the last.

He was investing time and energy into cultivating a skilled workforce, one that would eventually be more flexible than a mechanical assembly line ever could.

He wasn’t about let something like a few missing hands, eyes or feet get in the way of that.

“Once you’re operational once more, I fully expect you to get back to work,” he instructed. “And make no mistake, as punishment for failing to conform to work safety standards, the expense of what ever these machines cost will be deducted from your pay.”

In instalments. As a percentage of total pay proportionate to an amount above the minimum wage. Which meant it would take forever and a day to repay.

Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

He wasn’t about to invest time and effort into this girl just to bury her in debt until she starved to death. No, he fully intended to get maximum use from all his employees.

He might have expected some complaint at that, but none was forthcoming.

“Do you have something in your eye?” He asked as the silence dragged on.

That seemed to shake the girl out of her strange sudden stillness, as she shook her head, rapidly rubbing her watery eyes with one malformed hand.

“Yeah.” She sniffed, “some dust or something. Dweeb.” The last word was added almost as an afterthought, but Erich barely heard it. He was too focused on something else.

There are a lot of floating particulates in the air, he admitted. Perhaps I should invest in outdoor eye protection for the scavengers?

Prevention was usually cheaper than repairs, after all, and goggles were certainly cheaper than cybernetic eyes.

Something to consider at least, the supervillain thought as he strode down the street, young woman dogging his heels.


Gravity damn near jumped as her Omni pad chimed an incoming message.

“You ok, Grav?” Mark, one of her nominal ‘underlings’ asked as he looked up from his meal. The guy clearly had a crush on her, and under other circumstances she might have found it cute.

Might have taken him for a roll in the hay, if nothing else.

Unfortunately for him, she had other things on her mind.

“Fine,” she said, getting herself back under control as she picked up the pad. “Still just a bit jumpy from earlier.”

The Saint sent her an understanding look. “Yeah, didn’t expect Manacle to show up today, but hey, you handled him like a champ.”

Gravity sent him a wry look in turn. “More like the pyromaniac went looking for easier targets after he saw me.”

Easier targets he had found, if the chatter currently blowing up their radios was any indication. The King had blown through a checkpoint and burned down two of the Saints drug dens before reinforcements showed up to deal with him. At which point he’d fled, leaving a dozen dead saints, along with most of the buildings patrons, dead.

It was a pretty typical tactic. Make any venue associated with the Saints seem unsafe so that their customers go elsewhere.

“Anyway, I need to answer this, so…”

It took the gangster a few seconds, but he got the hint.

“Oh, It’s private.” He stood up to leave, “boyfriend or something?”

He tried to sound nonchalant, but the worry in his voice was totally obvious to anyone watching. Like the good half dozen of his compatriots scattered about the little café they had appropriated for lunch.

“Something like that,” Gravity smiled, taking the opportunity to nip the guy’s little crush in the bud, while also getting rid of him.

“Ah, I’ll- I’ll just go then,” the guy murmured as he turned to leave, obviously crushed.

Gravity watched him go with a pang of sympathy. Mark was an ok guy.

For a criminal, her mind supplied needlessly. Of course, she knew that wasn’t fair. The guy had been born and raised on the West Coast, and as she was quickly learning, the idea of criminality didn’t really exist as a classification out here.

It was also more than a little hypocritical, given that she was wearing the exact same uniform.

Which was why when she opened the message, she couldn’t help the pang of disappointment – and relief – that ran through her when she saw it wasn’t from who she thought it was.

Still, the content of the message did make her smile a bit.

“Oh, someone’s going to pay for this,” Gravity said as she looked at the link Myra had just sent her.

 

 

Topic: Myra’s Munitions! (Not Erich’s Armaments, or Gravity’s Guns, as previously posted.)

In: Associated Vendors

Purple_Prowler (Original Poster) (Member) (Meta) (Block Captain)
Posted On August 16th 2019:

Greeting fellow fuckups,

As many of you may have noticed, the Mechromancer’s store has gotten a little upgrade:

https://imgur.com/Q8NP2Pk

Real subtle, Gravity though as she looked over the new display board for Erich’s store.

 

 

The purple woman had to have gone behind the man’s back to get it installed, because she couldn’t ever see Erich commissioning a store front sized display of Myra, with cleavage on clear display, with the words ‘Myra’s Munitions’ daubed across them in bright white paint.

Gotta admit, she’s looking good though, Gravity thought as her eyes roamed appreciatively over the woman’s assets.

 

 

Purple_Prowler (Original Poster) (Member) (Meta) (Block Captain)
Posted On August 16th 2019:

With this, I can officially say that Erich’s Armaments has a new, much better name. Also, given the fact that our resident Queen of Lightning and the Mechromancer are having a bit of a tiff right now, I’ve taken it upon myself to continue updating the forums with his latest innovations in killy goodness.

 

The ‘Aegis’ M1 Bullet Resistant Vest
Having recently completed human tests (Don’t ask), the Aegis is now ready for sale. Capable of resisting rounds of a calibre up to nine-millimetre, the Aegis is perfect for the squishy gangster on the go (We can’t all be as beautiful or as resistant to small arms fire as I).

Yeah, it stops bullets and its cheap. What more do you want?

 

Bronte (Member) (Meta) (Block Captain)
Posted On August 16th 2019:

We will be having words, Prowler.

 

BeaverFur (Member) (Meta) (Unit Leader)
Replied on August 6th 2019:

@Bronte: Yeah, I’m getting to stay the hell away from that.

So, completely avoiding that shit storm, let’s talk armour. It’ll stop a bullet alright, what it wont stop is repeated impacts to the same general area. Things also start getting dicey the moment it takes a hit from anything beyond nine-millimetre. Still, considering the price, I’m recommending anyone who can get one, does.

 

StreetMook (Member)
Replied on August 16th 2019:

It’s heavy as shit.

 

E_Thankyou (Member)
Replied on August 16th 2019:

Can personally attest to this thing working. That’s all I’m willing to say at this point.

@Purple_Prowler: P.S. Could I speak to the Mechromancer at some point?

 

Agriope (Member) (Moderator)
Replied on August 16th 2019:

@StreetMook: It also stops your insides from becoming your outsides. Suck it up princess.

 

Waiting4Singularity (Member)

Replied on August 16th 2019:

As much as I hate to agree with him, StreetMook kind of has a point. You won’t feel it at first, but you’re going to be suffering after wearing it all day. Particularly our more… feminine members.

 

FlowerPower (Member)

Replied on August 17th 2019:

@Waiting4Singularity: Sexism!

 

Waiting4Singularity (Member)

Replied on August 17th 2019:

@FlowerPower: No, it’s biology.

 

FlowerPower (Member)

Replied on August 17th 2019:

@Waiting4Singularity: Yeah, I’m just fucking with you. Put the damn thing on today and felt like I was wearing a concrete vest. Crushed my poor ‘girls’ too.

Still, if it can keep me from getting ventilated, I’m ready to deal with a little discomfort.

 

StreetMook (Member)
Replied on August 17th 2019:

@FlowerPower: Kinky.

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SoggyRedToast

Bio: A supervillain in the making

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